It has been our first week in The Netherlands – in The Hague to be precise – and I am already close to loving this country. Now, I know that the beginnings give you all the opportunities to idealize, but I really hope it’s not the case. As for now – I really dig this city. I decided to write about my first moment impressions because I get asked that a lot by both our friends and on Instagram (where you can find some of my Dutch and other pictures by the way but first, tea! on INSTA) — so here it is – the newbie’s thoughts on coming to the Hague:
1. PEOPLE.ARE.NICE. For real. I mean they smile to you, ask you how you are. They are helpful, not because they have to but simply because it’s seems natural. For some reason being here feels somewhat like being in the States. Any Americans here?? Would you guys agree?
2. ENGLISH is common. And by that I mean – I haven’t met a person here who didn’t speak English. And it’s so good, too. WOW!
3. Everything is CLEAN. I am a clean freak therefore it’s a given – I must be in love with this country! I found some clamp of grass disturbing yesterday because guess what – it was growing askew. Can you imagine?? Trams and street seem really – I don’t know – cosy;)
4. This one is actually pretty close to no. 3 above – things are really NICE looking here. The architecture, the streets, the shops, the galleries. I haven’t seen much of museums yet but so far my esthetic taste is fully satisfied.
5. Speaking of houses. It’s interesting how the people living in the city center are…. TRANSPARENT – literally:) When you pass the apartments situated on the ground floor you can see through the windows because they aren’t usually covered with anything. I find it interesting having had experiences with countries that are on the other end of the spectrum – all about privacy.
6. The Hague doesn’t really seem to be A PET CITY. Since we are moving with our pug and cat furry company – we went through all circles of hell trying to rent an apartment. If you don’t wish to spend bazillions – there’s a really slim chance (close to non) you’ll get a furnished apartment here. Decent family size, too. We managed though – and this weekend were moving out of the hotel 🙂 to the neighborhood where you actually have some space to walk this freaking dog of yours if you wish to. City center my friends is not a pet friendly zone – not at all. Our daughter was so happy she found a tree that was surrounded by some grass – otherwise…. well – you can imagine.
7. “Friendly MULTI-CULTURAL” – and I say this only after a couple of days being here – but so far – I think it’s amazing how people get along. Different races, different countries of origin, backgrounds – you can see children playing together, people chatting casually in the store, on the street. Is it just on the surface or has this country managed to somehow do it better?
8. How many of you know that The Hague actually has access to THE SEA? You probably know it, I did too, but it’s still surprising somehow to discover a beautiful beach 🙂 Let’s not get excited – it’s not Mediterranean but still – there’s seagulls and sand and sun and…. yeah – all of that:)
9. This is probably something not everyone experiences – always – but we thankfully did – THE SUN. Since we came – in the end of August – I was expecting rain. And lots of it. Nothing like that happened. It only rained once – very lightly so far – other days have been sunny – and I mean sunshine level advanced – and hot. Love this, although I realize it will sadly soon come to an end.
10. I saved it almost for the end, but it’s the most obvious one – THE BIKES. I mean – they rule this city. Everyone rides a bike. Everyone. Doesn’t matter if you’re a suit, a preschooler or a housewife – you just gotta have one. There’s different kinds too – regular city bikes – thin and beautiful, or heavy duty ones – you can probably transport an elephant with them, I’ve also seen tandems – isn’t that a nice idea?
11. I think this point might have much to do with the use of bikes. The streets seem to be EMPTY. There’s no crowds, there’s no traffic – because get this – people are actually on.the.bikes. I wouldn’t believe if I didn’t see it. Totally love it.
12. And finally the last one is something special. Ok – weird special.. DUTCH HERRING… whaaat? this is a little special something people have here. It’s salty and it’s a fish – it’s a hot-fish – because it looks like a hot-dog except it’s not – it’s a fish-dog:)
Ok. That’s all for now. My first post ever. Might be that more will follow:)
If you have been here – visiting or living – let me know – is this idealization or is this country really special?